Friday, November 7, 2008

UT Football Player Kicked Off Team for Offensive Remarks about Obama

This week's presidential election elicited a great deal of emotion from the supporters of both major candidates. When the next four years of a nation's course are being determined, there understandably will be strong opinions concerning policy proposals and the men who are vying to execute these ideas from the White House. When the criticisms turn from being of a political nature to simply being personal attacks, lines can get crossed. And, in this age of advanced technology when so many people choose to display their personal lives and emotions on sites such as MySpace and blogs, you must be particularly careful in the words you choose. Buck Burnette, a now-former offensive lineman for the University of Texas Longhorns, painfully learned such a lesson this week. His Facebook posting about President-elect Obama cost him a spot on the football team and likely damaged his reputation.

Following Obama's victory on Tuesday night, Burnette made the ill-advised decision to post a friend's text message about our next president on his Facebook page. Unfortunately, the message was not "Hope!" or "I wish r nu prez the best!" Instead, Burnette's friend used a racial slur and other inflammatory language, and I certainly will not share the reprehensible text here. After realizing that some of his Facebook friends were taking offense to the post, Burnette wrote an apology and removed the incendiary text. The University of Texas athletic department quickly agreed that a website alteration was not sufficient, and Burnette was removed from the team for violation of team policy.

At Bertolino LLP, we have attorneys who specialize in the areas of entertainment and sports law. We know that our clients in these professions received heightened attention for every word that they speak or write. We certainly do not endorse any form of racist or discriminatory language. However, if you are a celebrity who believes you have been unfairly accused of offensive behavior and your career is now suffering, we have attorneys who can help. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today.

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